Saturday 11 January 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Black Royal, "Firebride"

By: Jeff Anderson

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 14/02/2020
Label: Suicide Records

“Firebride” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Coven
2). Hail Yourself
3). Pagan Saviour
4). All Them Witches
5). 313
6). Gods of War
7). The Reverand
8). Firebride
9). For The Dead Travel Fast

The Review:

For a band that has been around since 2013, I have to admit that I hadn't heard of Black Royal until this record showed up in my e-mail. I did some research and couldn't find a whole lot about the band to be honest, but I thought this might be a good thing because I can let the band's music speak for itself. All I knew going into this record was they're from the almighty Finland, they sing about Satan, and they classify themselves as 'death n sludge'. I'm sold.

'Firebride', which will be released on February 14th, 2020 via Suicide Records, is a catchy, groove-filled, jam record from front to back. Initially hearing they were defined as 'death n sludge' is definitely not enough because this record has so much more to it. A blackened scream you'd be able to compare to the likes of Nergal from Behemoth or even Gaahl from his stint with Gorgoroth is what leads the record. You'd think it'd be an off-putting mixture but it fits in so well. I've always been a fan of bands that can pull off a vocal styling that is usually alien to the genre of music being played, so this was a nice surprise. The guitars are so crisp but have just a touch of that dirty sludge we all love. The bass roaring under it all allowing you to feel the groove, and the drums staying in the pocket and making everything fit perfectly and guiding you into the next spot. I love drummers who don't get ahead of themselves on albums like this. Having a guy who knows how to bring the thunder and let it sit right in your face without overplaying is such a rarity. Drummers need to take more notes from men such as Bill Ward who is a master of this. Stay in the pocket and shake the earth without trying to make it fall apart. It's not always needed and can ruin the flow of an album. This album has incredible self-awareness of what it is and I respect that immensely.

The record touches on a whole heap of genres like doom, stoner, heavy, power, and sludge metal. It takes the finest of all of these and rolls them into a record that will make you feel like your money was finally well spent. Especially in a time where everything has been so watered down and you know what you're gonna get and you're bored before it even shows up.

The first officially released single 'Pagan Saviour' while great, is honestly one of the more relaxed tracks of the album. Which is saying something because the track is killer and far from relaxed. Big riffs, epic chanting, and it just feels like it gets bigger and bigger. So to know that there are songs that amp it up even more is great. Songs like 'Hail Yourself', 'The Reverend', and 'All Them Witches' are so tasty and irresistible to headbanging it's nice to see a record that will be able to sustain itself farther down the line if they choose to release more singles. They have nowhere to go but up with the tracks they've kept from the public so far. While I didn't hear what I feel is enough doom on the record, 'All Them Witches' gives you a super heavy dose that will take care of that thirst but I'd love to hear these guys venture into the doom side of things a lot more in the future.

All in all, what you have here is a record that's almost perfect to be the soundtrack of a night of great times with your friends and some drinks. If you need a quick description to sell your buddies on, tell them it sounds like an alcohol-fueled, sludge-riff rock album fronted by Satan. What's not to love? With everything I've heard it's no surprise that in 2019 they were tapped to open for the legendary Corrosion of Conformity in Helsinki. So if COC signed off on these guys then what do you need me to tell you for? Go buy the record!

I'd love to see a lot more action and push on these guys. They have what you're looking for. Every track on the record (aside from an interlude) hits the spot for something. There shouldn't be anyone left out when listening to this album.